This All Souls’ Night gathering brings froth a brace of bands on a mission to shake off the remnant cobwebs still hanging on from Halloween – that’s if the size of the amps on stage are anything to go by.
As the evening’s turns are anticipated, a young man parades around in an all-over royal-blue body stocking. The reasoning behind this becomes quickly apparent when he – Connor Liddle – takes his place behind the drums as part of opening act Route 19.
The Selby quartet’s set is a showcase in adrenaline-affected power-pop meeting ska-soaked riffs, which the band interchanges between with breakneck precision; between songs (the pacy, bass-led ‘Dead Generation’ to the funky ‘Stupid Lies’ to the frantic ‘Dream Machine’) and during songs (‘Mrs Johnson’).
From a band whose origins are a punk-covers band, the added funkier rhythms give Route 19 a compelling dimension and offer a suitable taster for this evening’s main course.
The palate of Mr Shiraz, who follows next on stage, is full-blown classic rock. Lead singer Mikey, sporting a Black Flag T-shirt, is a screamer in the finest Brian Johnson tradition and throughout the band’s set, actively urges the audience – to the point of playfully throttling them by the jugular – to draw nearer to the stage.
The Huddersfield five-piece’s musicianship is tight; of note is bassist Tori’s neat slap technique during the self-reflective ‘Funkstorm’ and guitarist Karl’s equally primal depths. Mr Shiraz’s eight-song set keeps the audience buoyant and responsive – at one point, Mikey admonishes this writer for taking notes when he should have his hands in the air.
Headliners Sonic Boom Six arrive to set the room skanking with ‘New Style Rocka’. The set finds the band in a mood of excitement, having toured non-stop for over seventy days and completed their fourth album.
During the band’s fourteen-track set, it’s hard to judge whether themselves or the crowd are generating the greater energy buzz. A rush of relentless dynamism persists from the entire band which the audience have little difficulty in matching. A collective pogo arises during ‘Kids Of The Multiculture’ which evolves into a quasi-moshpit by curtain raiser ‘Sunny Side Of The Street’.
During the set, Barney tells the crowd, “I think we’ve found the common denominator… we will always have love for ska and hip-hop”. Those influences are found in the new songs which are performed, ‘Virus’ and ‘Karma Is A Bitch’, are embraced as fervently as the well-known songs.
There are tunes selected by fans thrown in; ‘The Dangers Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’ as requested by Facebook fans, an album track chosen by a “rude girl” in the audience; incorporating a wonderful element of uniqueness to the moment.
The lasting impression you get from the Sonic Boom Six live experience is their genuine passion for the audience of fresh and long-term fans; their enthusiasm in whipping the crowd into a frenzy, combined with their openness and inclusivity when addressing them (Barney’s apology in giving Leeds a shout-out and Leila’s sincerity in hoping their set didn’t alienate anyone gathered) is a refreshing attribute of such a hard-working band.